Summer Conditions on the Trails Bring Beautiful Views and Flowers!

Diapensia in the Alpine Garden.  Photo Credit to Sky Lucero-Keniston
      On Wednesday, Olivia, Kate and I had the incredible pleasure of touring Mt Washington's Alpine 
Mt Passaconoway off of Mt. Hedgehog
Gardens with our AMC Naturalists, getting to not just see the flowers but acquiring all sorts of facts!  If you have the opportunity, DEFINITELY join the AMC Naturalists for an Alpine Flower Tour!  We were lucky enough to have one of the week's blue sky days for our summit tour.  We descended the very rocky and steep Huntington Ravine Trail .3mi to the Alpine Garden Trail and then wandered along, checking out flowers as we went.  Our AMC Tours often take this exact route and except for that initial .3mi, the entire section is very benign for the feet!
This is a good sign for Blueberry Season!

      I did not have blue sky days on my two hikes earlier in the week but I did have wildflowers and plenty of biting insects!  Last Sunday I climbed Hedgehog Mtn. on the UNH Loop Trail off of the Kancamagus Highway.  Incredible ledges, front seat views of Mt. Passaconoway and copious amounts of blueberries a-growing!!!  On Tuesday I ascended the 3500 ft. Mt. Martha in Jefferson and crossed Martha's Mile.  The Cherry Mtn. Trail began on an old roadbed beside some sort of clearing.  For those of you  hiking with little kids, you could get .5mi into the woods and get over into that clearing for some far reaching
Lady Slippers and Canadian Mayflower on Mt Martha
 views!  The trail gets much steeper later on but not ledgy and from the summit, there are great views in all directions as well as an old fire tower base to explore.  It looks like the trail up the back side of the mountain might be a horse access trail for you equestrians to research.  The mile between Mt. Martha and Owl's Head was my favorite part.  Not many people travel
Cherry Mtn Trail on Mt Martha
between the two peaks and the path is wonderfully wild and untrammeled.  You've got a couple of good rock scrambles as you take on the final climb to Owl's Head summit.  They are challenging but fun and then you have even more views as a reward!
      Trail conditions on all three hikes were dry.  Mud has been at a minimum.  It is raining right now so I am sure that will change somewhat for the next few days but the snow pack from above is almost completely melted out.  Thus the mud is not as deep and the rivers are not as high as they were just a few weeks ago.  Our leaves are fully developed at this
The Presidentials from Owl's Head
point (finally) and the bugs are completely hatched!  Be aware!!!  Whether you use bug nets, natural repellent or the full on chemical stuff, be prepared!!!  Both mosquitoes and black flies are here for the duration of the bug season and they are in droves!!!
      Here on Washington, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is still closed, awaiting the melting of the snow on the Headwall.  They are STILL skiing in there, on the lower slopes of Left Gully. (Or at least they were 2 days ago...we'll see what kind of condition the rain leaves it in!)   Huntington Ravine is fully can hike top to bottom without walking on any of the remaining snow or ice!  All of the AMC High Huts are open and it's a great time to get into the woods!!!

For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk. We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. Be sure to check weather conditions and avalanche reports before you come and call us here with any questions! We'll see you up here!

Happy Excursions!
Backcountry Information Specialist
Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
Ledges on the backside of Hedgehog

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